AIHW: diabetes firmly linked to dementia

AIHW’s confirmation of the link between diabetes and dementia has prompted renewed calls for a dementia prevention strategy.

By Kate Horowitz

People who suffer from diabetes are significantly more likely to develop dementia during their lifetimes compared to other people at the same age according to a new report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Glenn Rees, CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia.

Glenn Rees, CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia, says the findings highlight that dementia is not just an age issue but also a health issue and there is a need for a preventative strategy to address dementia. “The research suggests that people with diabetes are 47 per cent more likely to develop dementia during their lifetimes compared to other people at the same age,” Mr Rees Said.

“What we find disappointing with Government and health services is that they run awareness programs to change lifestyle habits such as healthy eating, cutting back on alcohol and cigarettes to reduce heart disease, diabetes and cancer, but they do not recognise that physical health is linked to mental health issues like dementia.”

 “Less than 50 per cent of Australians are aware of anything they can do to reduce the risk of dementia. It would be of little cost to the government and have a great impact on the community to incorporate dementia awareness in health awareness programs.”

With the cost of dementia care set to outstrip all other health conditions by 2060, Mr Rees said there is an urgent need for a national preventative strategy to address dementia.

“People should be aware of dementia as much as they are of cancer and translate this awareness into the kind of positive action that we’ve seen over the last 50 years with campaigns about cancer research and prevention.”

 “There is evidence from European epidemiological research that eliminating depression and diabetes, along with increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and exposure to intellectual activity are likely to have the biggest impact on reducing the incidence of dementia, outweighing even the effect of removing the principal known genetic risk factor.”

There are currently 269,000 Australians with dementia and 1500 new cases each week. More than one million people are currently on the National Diabetes Register with 275 new people joining each day.

Lewis Kaplan, CEO of Diabetes Australia, said there is a need for different health organisations to work together to improve Australians health.

“Organisations like Diabetes Australia and Alzheimer’s Australia need to work together to raise awareness about the links between healthy lifestyles and brain health. It is important that people with diabetes are aware of the risks of dementia and monitor their cognitive health as part of their diabetes management plan.”

Information about dementia risk reduction and the relationship between dementia and diabetes can be found on the Alzheimer’s Australia Mind your Mind website

Tags: ageing, alzheimers-australia, dementia, diabetes-australia, diabetesaustralian-institute-of-health-and-welfare-aihw, glenn-rees, lewis-kaplan,

1 thought on “AIHW: diabetes firmly linked to dementia

  1. An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a great subject but people are not enough to speak on such topics. Cheers!

    Here’s my dementia australia website by the way.

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